… Or the story on how most pharmaceuticals out there don’t do what they’re supposed to or we are blind to most of the side effects. Why? Because the way they were developed and studied in relation to affecting living organisms was wrong from the get go. Why again? Well now we come to the nitty gritty.

As much as we’d like for it to be possible to study new medicine and cures exempt from inserting them into living things it’s pretty much not possible. There are so many blind spots on functioning of bodies  and chemistry that it is impossible to create a simulation that will do justice to the real thing. This does not mean we’re not smart enough, but that science is very young in comparison to the eons evolution and nature had had at their disposal to tweak every single little thing down to the nano level and debug the issues that may occur. We’re also fragmented, with a possibility to become true experts in one, maybe two fields and we get stuck in an echo chamber and rules of the field(s). Interdisciplinary work is very hard as disciplines often don’t use the same postulates or language. So we’re stuck with each area of study just staring at the corners of the big picture, unable to step back, and an error in initial condition results in a huge cascade of false data and mistakes later.

This is not an anti-pharma rant that dismisses the value of life saving substances and medication, but it is a cautionary tale on the background of why so many medications fail or have an immeasurably small effect with a too high price. It is a plea to urge you to consider pharmaceuticals as a last resort because many ailments can be relieved or completely reversed by natural medicine or changing parts of our lifestyle. This planet came equipped with substances that can be used to keep us alive, healthy and thriving, they are just not as profitable for capitalism as a fully stocked medicine cabinet in your home.  Most drugs (that work) have been copied from some plant chemistry  or resource, so why not just use the real thing with far less or no side effects at all. Because a pill is easier to swallow(literally)?

Returning to the trouble with pharmaceuticals, there is one huge issue, an elephant (and a mouse) in the room which has been ignored by the pharmaceutical industry, as its acknowledgement would demand restructuring so big and expensive that it would take decades to recover, if ever. It would result in unravelling, recalling most medication in circulation and redoing everything that had been done so far, as the first step was wrong – the animals used in final testing stages – the mice. As we’ve mentioned already, animal testing may not be the most ethical way to do things, but it is the only way to test in live organisms and in shortens time spans to see how the drug behaves and the effects it has on the entire wellbeing and life span of a living organism. But a legit lab needs to get its mice from somewhere and there are places designed for providing exactly that. But there is a catch.

Remember telomeres? Telomeres stand at the end of a DNA strand as a shoelace cap. They get shorter each time a cell divides and are linked to senescence aka aging and they play a factor in longevity, protection from cancer (as once the telomeres get short enough the cell refuses to divide further), allow for tissues to regenerate by allowing cells to be replaced with their younger versions and so much more. There is a principle at play here called the antagonistic pleiotropy which means nature selects for some traits favouring those which will make us successful and attractive when we’re young which may at the same time not be very good for us once we’re old, as nature bets on our youth far more than on our old age when we lose reproductive function. In the telomeres case, longer telomeres mean a healthier stronger body and greater recuperation power when we’re young, but it also means we’re more prone to cancer as there are more potential cell divisions still available with longer telomeres if the cell goes cancerous. So it was noticed (please explore the biologist and evolutionary theorist Bret Weinstein for more detail on this) that lab mice are extraordinarily cancer prone for some reason and it was subsequently found that due to their selection and breeding processes in captivity lab mice had longer telomeres than their free counterparts. This means that lab mice are modified to an extent and  that stops making them a good model for pharmaceutical lab testing, as the longer telomeres completely change how the substances interact with their bodies, actually even making them thrive on things that are harmful to humans. The system of pharmaceutical production is completely flawed and the way they are tested and deemed “safe or efficient” is not applicable to the human body. So we get into the black hole of recalling medication from the shelves, unexpected side-effects once the medication is in circulation, breakdown of body systems, toxicity or even fatal outcomes on something that was supposed to be “safe”, “healing”, “beneficial”…  When the cat’s away the (lab) mice play. The cat went away a long time ago and lest no one in charge.

We don’t know enough to be able to afford testing on bad models, which is just as bad as no testing at all. We don’t have the luxury of letting toxins into the population only to have them retracted later due to fatal outcomes; we don’t get to ignore the perpetuation of wrong in order to protect the structure. There is no legitimate reason why the same practice continues today, although it is proven to be ineffective. Take well proven medication if you absolutely need to, but please use any synthetically made drug with reservation and keep in mind the wisdom of nature and the remedies it offers so abundantly, healing what needs to be healed and leaving the healthy parts enacted. A “cure” that helps with one thing and causes 2 new problems (we know of) is no cure at all. The most advanced civilisation we know of is now also the most medicated and the sickest one ever. What causes what here is not clear and the causal relationship may not be straightforward but a network of errors going back to the first principles. Remember the GIGO principle in programming – “garbage in, garbage out. Faulty inputs result in faulty outputs, and bringing more of the same output does nothing but make it worse and worse. The thing is to fix the input for a more coherent and useful output. Poorly tested medication are an equivalent of burning down the house due to a bad smell so you wouldn’t have to smell it any more (yet now you have nowhere to live any more, nut hey at least but the smell is gone), natural remedies are equivalent to opening of the windows and letting things air out, so you can joyfully return into a space which you can call home. This is what your body is, the only place you have to live in.